(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "History And Human Relation"

TRAGIC    ELEMENT    IN    MODERN    CONFLICT

we move further away from being mere contemporary
historians,

» Turning again to the hypothetical case which we have
been using as our pattern, we may note that not only
could the greatest war in history be produced between
two Powers both of which were moderately virtuous
and desperately anxious to prevent a conflict, but such
a struggle, far from being a nice, quiet and reasonable
affair, would be embittered by the heat of moral indigna-
tion on both sides, just because each was so conscious
of its own rectitude, so enraged with the other for
leaving it without any alternative to war. It is the
peculiar characteristic of the situation I am describing—
the situation of what I should call Hobbesian fear—
that you yourself may vividly feel the terrible fear that
you have of the other party, but you cannot enter into
the other man's counter-fear, or even understand why
he should be particularly nervous. For you know that
you yourself mean him no harm, and that you want
nothing from him save guarantees for your own
safety; and it is never possible for you to realise or
remember properly that since he cannot see the inside
of your mind, he can never have the same assurance of
your intentions that you have. As this operates on
both sides the Chinese puzzle is complete in all its
interlockings—and neither party sees the nature of the
predicament he is in, for each only imagines that the
other party is being hostile and unreasonable. It is
even possible for each to feel that the other is wilfully
withholding the guarantees that would have enabled
to have a sense of security. The resulting conflict
21